Motocross-Nobens

Tricia Noben and her son, Jason, 9, with their motocross bikes at their garage in Zumbrota. Jason is in his third year of motocross competiton. Tricia, who raced in the 1980s and 90s, is now Jason's mechanic. (Andrew Link / alink@postbulletin.com)

Tricia Noben recently felt one of those "uh-oh" moments every parent seems to have at some point.

"It was last summer, a really sad day, I couldn't keep up with him anymore," she said with a smile, about her 9-year-old son Jason. "But I told him I'm going to start practicing and get back in shape and he better look out."

It was probably just a matter of time before Jason became the fastest motocross rider in his family.

After all, his mechanic takes extra care to keep his 65cc No. 76 KTM bike — which he won in a raffle at the Spring Creek Motocross Park Super Series banquet — in top form.

Jason's mechanic for his No. 76 65cc KTM bike is his mom, Tricia.

"I was in the garage when my dad wrenched on our bikes, so he taught me from an early age," Tricia said, "and he made us clean up our bikes when we'd get home from races. I've had some awesome mentors -- friends and people I used to ride with -- who have helped us learn about the KTM bike, because KTMs weren't around when I raced."

Tricia grew up in a racing family. Her brother raced and her dad got her involved before she even started grade school.

"I had a bike when I was 3 years old," she said, "then my dad brought me to a race at Spring Creek (in Millville) a few years later and asked if I wanted to try it and I said 'yes' right away.

"He bought me an 80(cc) bike, had me practice a little bit, then got me out there on the big track and we went from there. It was intimidating at first, but you get up the hills once and think 'wow! This is amazing!'

"There were very few girls racing at that time, so it's awesome to see all of the female racers out there now."

Tricia passed along the love of the sport to Jason at an early age, too, though he didn't take to it immediately.

"He didn't like it at first, so we ended up selling his first bike," she said. "But then we went to a (pro) Supercross race (in Minneapolis) and he loved it and wanted to try it again."

Jason hasn't stopped racing since. He races nearly every weekend in the summer, either at Spring Creek in Millville, or other area tracks, including one in Mankato.

"I really see his excitement," Tricia said. "He has progressed so much and he has that challenge now with his buddies he races against. It really pushes him and the competitor in him kicks in. That's pretty cool to see."

Jason will be back on the track Sunday, for Spring Creek Super Series races (the track's weekly racing series for more than 40 classes of amateur riders of all ages). He races in the 65cc class, which will take the track just one day after the best motocross riders in the world are in Millville. The annual AMA motocross Pro Nationals will be held Saturday at Spring Creek, with pro practices beginning at 8:30 a.m.

"They're really fast and fun to watch," Jason said of the pros; he said his favorite rider is Marvin Musquin, who is currently in second place in the 450 Class. "I like to watch the big straightaways, and on the other side is a big table top (a flat, raised part of the track riders attempt to jump over) and a hill that's fun to watch."

Jason said his favorite part of the track at Spring Creek is the sand whoops -- the speedbump-like rollers on the far northwest corner of the track -- and he excels at the starting line, getting a quick jump out of the gate.

"My old bike was good, but this one has a ton of power and takes off really fast," he said. "(When I first started) I was scared for the starts, but after the first turn I was like 'this is the best!'"

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